Nobel Peace Laureate Ebadi calls on Iranians to continue protests

In this file photo, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran looks on during a news conference. (Reuters)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Nobel Peace Laureate Ebadi calls on Iranians to continue protests

LONDON: The Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has blamed military spending in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon for undermining the state budget and spreading poverty in the country.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper about the wave of anti-government protests, the human rights lawyer said Iran’s authorities continue to neglect the Iranian people despite the fact that they have declared their demands.
Ebadi said the majority of Iranians are demanding change because they are now aware that the current political structure, centerred around Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is incapable of reform.
Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work in Iran but has lived in exile in London since 2009, urged Iranians to continue protesting.
She called on people to stop paying water, gas and electricity bills and taxes, and to withdraw their money from state-owned banks.
The protests started on December 28, driven by economic grievances and spread to cities across the country. Twenty-one people have been killed in the violent response from Iran’s security forces.
Ebadi said that people took to the streets peacefully but were confronted by the police and security forces.
“The government says up to 700 were arrested but I am certain that the number of detainees and casualties is much more than that,” she added.
Ebadi said Iran’s police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should drop their weapons and join protesters.


US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

Updated 20 April 2019
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US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will not involve giving land from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to the Palestinians, an American envoy said on Friday.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, apparently sought to deny reports on social media that the long-awaited plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would involve extending Gaza into the northern Sinai along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.
“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!,” Greenblatt, one of the architects of the proposal, tweeted on Friday.
The American plan is expected to be unveiled once Israel’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms a government coalition and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.
Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the plan would require compromise by all parties, a source familiar with his remarks said.
It is unclear whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.
The Palestinians have long sought to set up a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.